Every Saturday and Sunday in October, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, college students, and neighborhood homeowners pulled invasive plants, primarily, pachysandra, from a section of the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail off Miller Heights Road in Oakton. Eli Edwards, a Scout in BSA Troop 987 led the project with support from Hornaday advisor Sara Holtz and sponsor Fairfax County Park Authority’s Invasive Management Area (IMA) program. Invasive plants are non-native, aggressive plants that cause ecological or economic harm and degrade our natural ecosystem.
99 volunteers worked 210 hours to remove 85 bags of invasive plants from the park land. The goal was to replace the pachysandra with native plants and trees. Volunteers planted white wood aster, hairy bush clover, American alumroot, trailing bush clover, dwarf cinquefoil, pussytoes, arrowleaf violet, common wood rush, Pennsylvania sedge, bluestem,
goldenrod, arrowwood viburnum, witch hazel, hazelnut trees, ironwood trees, and redbud trees. Eli created the plan for this project in order to earn the BSA Hornaday Badge. This award was created by Dr. William T. Hornaday who was a conservationist and is a prestigious award that requires a Scout to lead a conservation project, complete several merit badges, and meet rank requirements. By successfully completing this project he is one step closer to earning the Boy Scout Hornaday Badge. Eli encourages homeowners to remove any invasive plants in your yard and replace with native plants (see list above).
– Eli Edwards